Articles by Alexandra Enderle
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Christmas is right around the corner, and with it all the holiday traditions. Some of them you might have already noticed, like your colleagues bringing cookies and candies to the office, or your scale showing two pounds more than usual (most likely an effect of your colleagues’ cookies). But one of the most recognizable traditions can be seen in retail stores as they are loaded with overwhelming amounts of decoration, artificial snow and the most tempting holiday specials as far as the eye can see.
Like every year, retailers are expecting big revenue numbers. According to the American National Retail Federation, US shoppers are expected to spend 602 bn. USD during this holiday season (in Germany we are looking at 81 bn. Euros), but sales during the holiday season could even be higher. A new study by Capgemini shows us that companies struggle with satisfying real-time consumer demands during the holidays and consequently lose customers to other stores or brands. In fact, more than 50% of supply chain managers admit supply chain issues have had a negative impact on their company’s revenue or profitability over the past few years. Read more…
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Remote maintenance services have been used in the manufacturing industry for many years to maintain spatially distributed machines and equipment. Using a dedicated line, service engineers can establish a connection to a machine and access its control system. Depending on the available transmission mode and access rights, the engineer can provide passive assistance to on-site machine operators or even take active control of the system. The benefits are obvious: remote maintenance slashes travel and personnel costs while improving customer service by offering faster response times.
This recent surge in demand has fueled a boom in the availability of remote maintenance software for industry applications. However, many of these programs lack the necessary flexibility and “intelligence.” Typically, a separate PC or desktop environment must be set up for each active machine. In addition, the applications are not usually integrated in the existing system environment, so the data they collect cannot be incorporated into these systems unless it is entered manually or copied from a USB stick. However, these problems need not exist as technology already provides everything needed to address these issues.
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Recently, McKinsey released an interview featuring an expert discussion between executives at Robert Bosch, namely Siegfried Dais (Partner of the Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG) and Heinz Derenbach (CEO of Bosch Software Innovations GmbH), and McKinsey experts. This interview addressed the prevalence of the Internet of Things in manufacturing and the consequent technology-driven changes that promise to trigger a new industrial revolution. Here at Bosch, and generally in Germany, we are referring to this phenomenon as Industry 4.0. The basic principle of Industry 4.0 is that by connecting machines, work pieces and systems, we are creating intelligent networks along the entire value chain that can control each other autonomously. Some examples for Industry 4.0 are machines that predict failures and trigger maintenance processes autonomously or self-organized logistics that react to unexpected changes in the production.
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In a recent blog post (Industry 4.0 – Germany takes first steps toward the next industrial revolution), Stefan Ferber gave us insights into how the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS) will affect the manufacturing industry. In a modern production facility, where machines, parts, and systems are connected to each other, information can be exchanged easily and quickly between the individual participants. This will not only allow us to react flexibly to changing requirements, but also optimize existing processes.
During a brief video interview at CeBIT 2013 we asked Martin Schäffler, Manager Industry 4.0, about the importance of IoTS for the manufacturing industry, and if manufacturers can already make use of it today. One detail we can share with you upfront: predictive maintenance seems to be a solution quite ready for use. But see for yourself.